Eureka 1.01 Pilot review

The One Where: Carter discovers Eureka.

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AIR-DATE: 18/07/06

Written by:
Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia

Peter O’Fallon

Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Maury Chaykin, Matt Frewer

Rating: 3/5

A car is driving down a dark road when the girl in the back tells the man in the front that they’ve just driven past themselves. Eh? What? The car crashes and the man, who turns out to be an LA Federal Marshall named Jack Carter, escapes with the girl, who turns out to be his daughter and they wander into a strange town. Called Eureka, as it turns out.

Meanwhile, Walter, a Paul Giamatti lookalike, is intending to leave Eureka. But as he sets off, a strange disruption happens and eats a big chunk of the back of his truck, where his son was. The Sheriff is called and Carter investigates when he meets someone who outranks him, Allison Blake from the Defense Department. What WAS the thing that took such a big bite of the truck?!

Carter, after booking in at a local inn with a very inquisitive landlady, decides to investigate. He goes into one field and finds a cow which – again – a chunk taken out of it. Before it can register, he’s hit in the neck with a tranquiliser dart. Escaping from the clutches of the weird dogcatcher, he’s finally told the truth by Allison Blake. Eureka was founded during World War Two as a haven for the greatest scientific minds, and Blake is the liaison between the United States government and Eureka. There he meets Professor King, an astrophysicist. Together they work out the origin of what’s been going on. Someone working at Eureka has been building a device that is causing time to unravel. Eek! So the military come in and Carter solves the problem by calling on a local autistic boy (who happens to be Allison’s son), who saves the day, but Walter is killed by an electro-magnetic blast. But why after that does the psychotherapist landlady kill Walter’s widow? Hmm, interesting. Finally, Carter is asked to stay in Eureka, with a big pay rise.

No doubt science geeks will get a big thrill, in these Enterprise-less days, at how science-heavy the dialogue at the end is. Which is odd because the rest of Eureka isn’t like that at all. It’s aiming for Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks-lite sort of appeal, and it nearly gets there on occasion, but the basic truth is, it’s too straight. Maybe later episodes will expose its kookiness more. At the moment, it’s difficult not to see Eureka as a bank manager trying his best to loosen his tie and become a bit quirky. But it has to be said, it’s a good ending, and a surprising one after the lightness of what’s gone on before. Best of the cast so far is Colin Ferguson, who has a nice line in exasperated, and it’s good to see Matt (Max Headroom) Frewer back.

Susan Perkins: “I should be out and about. Instead of looking after Felon Spice here.”

Steve O'Brien

SFX Magazine is the world's number one sci-fi, fantasy, and horror magazine published by Future PLC. Established in 1995, SFX Magazine prides itself on writing for its fans, welcoming geeks, collectors, and aficionados into its readership for over 25 years. Covering films, TV shows, books, comics, games, merch, and more, SFX Magazine is published every month. If you love it, chances are we do too and you'll find it in SFX.